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Home / Construction / Obama open to every good idea to stop job losses (1:56 p.m. 12/3/09)

Obama open to every good idea to stop job losses (1:56 p.m. 12/3/09)

By PHILIP ELLIOTT

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama kicked off a White House jobs forum on Thursday by saying he’s “open to every demonstrably good idea” to reverse the worst job losses in decades. But Obama said the government’s resources are limited and that growth ultimately must come from the private sector.

“So we can’t make any ill considered decisions right now even with the best of intentions,” he said. “We have to be surgical and we’re going to have to be creative.” Obama appealed to his audience of academics, business and union leaders and local officials to help him find “the biggest bang for the buck.”

Obama said chronic unemployment is “a struggle that cuts deep and touches people across the nation.”

Seeking to set a can-do tone, he claimed progress has been made toward an economic recovery since the depths of the recession last winter, while saying much more work needs to be done.

Obama said the leading question of the day is “how do we get businesses to start hiring again” and asked his guests to “bring their A-game.”

He spoke a day ahead of the release of government figures on unemployment. The jobless rate now is 10.2 percent, the highest since the early 1980s, and most economists believe Friday’s report will show it still above 10 percent, perhaps still rising.

Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested that one way to create jobs is to use leftover money from the Wall Street bailout to pay for new spending on roads and bridges and save the jobs of firefighters, teachers and other public employees.

Republicans staged their own jobs forum across town, inviting a team of mostly conservative economists to a round-table discussion.

“I don’t think there is a moment to lose. I think we have to move aggressively toward policies that actually promote jobs. And so far what’s been tried hasn’t worked very well,” said Lawrence Lindsey, a top economic adviser early in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former head of the Congressional Budget Office who had been 2008 GOP Republican nominee Sen. John McCain’s chief economic adviser, said that the single best thing Obama could do to create jobs was “to reverse course on a dangerous agenda of debt-financed spending, crippling regulation, expensive mandates, and intrusive government expansion.”

Obama told his audience: “I’ll be looking for some good answers.” After his opening remarks, the group broke into smaller study groups. Obama planned to address the entire group again at day’s end.

The president acknowledged there was considerable skepticism about government’s ability to overcome the employment challenge and even over whether “any discussion like this can produce results.”

But he said he thinks skepticism can be healthy and “I am confident that we will make progress.”

Perhaps unwittingly, Vice President Joe Biden took the event a bit off-message at the start, painting a more dire picture of the nation’s economy than typically heard out of the administration.

At the opening session, Biden recalled an old Ronald Reagan line that people see the problem as a merely downturn when a stranger is out of work and a recession if it’s a relative who is unemployed — but a full-blown depression when they themselves lose a job.

“And it is a depression” for the nation’s 10 million unemployed, Biden added.

“Our task together is obviously not an easy one,” Biden said. And while the $787 billion stimulus package had helped kick-start the process, “the government’s capacity is still somewhat limited.”

2 comments

  1. What our feerless leaders totally fail to recognize is why businesses are in business. (Profit = > P.I.T.A.) It is to make a profit, to make money, period, amen. Their number one priority is NOT to provide jobs. They completely have the cart before the horse. Providing jobs is the result of high profits, and a means to THEN increase profitability and sustain growth. the sooner they learn that, the sooner we’ll get back on track. It’s a simple equation as stated before, but it’s one of lifes simple truthes: “a business exists only as long as it’s profits are equal to, or greater than it’s P.I.T.A.” (Pain In The @ss)
    So…you want jobs? Stop putting a target on business owners, attacking them as ‘the rich’. Stop the government healthcare plans, which scare the hell out of business for what they project their increased costs will be to pay for it. Stop all this cap and trade nonsense, it also scares the hell out of business for what that will cost them in higher taxes and punitive regulations. Stop all the ‘carbon tax’ and carbon footprint regulations and all the rest of the ‘green’ b.s. The only thing ‘green’ about going ‘green’ is the greenbacks (money\profit) that will continue to go off shore to other countries. Stop all the stimulus spending to “create or save” more government jobs…it ain’t helping, contrary to Queen Pelosi’s views. Businesses need tax cuts, lots of them. It worked wonderfully under Kennedy, and Reagan. That said…HOWEVER!…when those tax cuts produce all sorts of jobs, and massive increased revenue starts rolling into Washington, congress must this time show some restraint, and not spend it like drunkin sailors, and massively increase ‘government spending programs’ as they did in the past. We know all too well that result…big deficits during market corrections. Yes, there will always be market corrections, but they don’t have to turn into recessions…that happens when government grows out of control.
    Short and simple….government needs to get the hell out of the way, and let the free market, entrepeneurial spirit flourish, as it once did, and could again.

    None of this will happen…Why?
    Because for this summit they’ve gathered participants from; 1- academics 2- business 3- union leaders and 4- local officials, to help him. Guess what?….3 out of 4 of those participants don’t know sh*t from shinola when it comes to creating profits…and jobs. In fact 3 out of those 4 will actually do more harm than good to businesses as they have absolutely NO IDEA what it takes to run a profitable business in the real world.
    So the question that begs to be asked, is Obama really open to every good idea to stop job losses? Only if he ignores advice from participant’s 1,3,and 4.

  2. BUY U.S.A.

    stop buying imported chinese junque.

    “Just say NO” – Nancy Reagan – 1982

    we need to restart manufactring again in the this country.

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